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  1. #1

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    Default Structured Wiring Thread

    Today I decided to try out some new Keystone jacks, they are of the type used in offices for Phone/Data/Telecom which consist of a wall plate and inserts (you pick the type of insert) which go into the wall. I used a set of RCA's and ran the cable through the wall by using fish tape and snaking the wire through the back. Then, cut a hole in the wall with a saw and mounted the wall plate in a low-voltage junction box. I figured that with all the discussion of subs, and where to place them, might as well start a thread on structured wiring for Voice/Data, Audio/Video, LAN, Whole-house Audio, Speaker, and Cable wiring.

    So, which brand of jacks do you like the best and why?

    Picture attached is of my sub connected to the new keystone jack. I like it!
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    I have no idea how to do any of this, or where to go about learning...but I am certainly interested in learning!

    Consider this thread subscribed!
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  3. #3

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    Well, for starters, you need some basic tools:

    1. Drill with spade bits
    2. Fish tape (65' preferred)
    3. Measuring Tape
    4. Level
    5. Saw

    Then, obtain the cable you need (RG6 can be used for composite video, CAT5/6 can also be used for telecom, Stereo L/R audio, HDMI/DVI, component video, digital audio, etc.) and use the fish tape to snake it through the wall. I mentioned the drill with spade bits because sometimes, you will be forced to cross a 2x4 and the only choice is to make a hole in the wall and drill through it if there is no access from above or below (such as on a concrete slab).

    Below is a system I did for someone who didn't have the tools to do it themselves:

  4. #4

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    My house is only a little over 3 years old and I had the HT prewired. I got to choose the speaker wire, from a selection of what he could obtain. (Beldin 5000UE). For the plates I used, the stuff from Parts Express. The wall for the HT is pretty large and I choose to put the sub on the front wall with the mains and rack.

    For any add on wiring I have been doing, I have been using DataCom's stuff. They have a pretty good selection of plates. What lead me to them in the first place was adding a power receptacle behind a wall mounted TV, that would still be to code and that floating TV look. They might be a bit more expensive, but I like the selection and the way they mount things.

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  5. #5

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    Usually too, if you remove the baseboard there will be a gap between the wall board and flooring to get wire around studds. If not you could always just use a utility knife and trim alittle wall board off the bottom, the trim will cover it anyway.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    Usually too, if you remove the baseboard there will be a gap between the wall board and flooring to get wire around studds. If not you could always just use a utility knife and trim alittle wall board off the bottom, the trim will cover it anyway.
    That gap isn't necessarily there for wiring. It allows expansion of the wall board so it can flex with humidity and temp changes as well as not buckle when the wall wants to expand. If you're going to run small amounts of speaker wire in there, that's usually fine but if you cram several wires in there and fill the gap, you defeat the purpose of the gap.

    What you can do is carefully pry off your existing baseboard, flip it over and run a groove it in it with a router along the back. Use a rip fence to get the same groove in all the baseboard. Also, don't cut too deep so you don't mess up the baseboard. Then you won't compromise the materials of your wall. I did that at a friend's house. He has plaster walls so we had to come up with a way to run wires around rooms without risking breaking the plaster. Since we were replacing the baseboards anyway, we ran the grooves on the back of the new stuff near a fatter part of it. It was only speaker wire and it came out great! Can't tell it's even there.
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    Thats also a good way John, but keep in mind too, an inch is alot of room for cables, I know of no wallboard that fluctuates that much due to conditions. If so, you have other issues at hand.

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    you guys were very helpful to a fellow polkie, much nicer seeing this than something along the lines of"hey, you ever heard of a google search"

    this is what i like about polkies.
    humpty dumpty was pushed

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    Thats also a good way John, but keep in mind too, an inch is alot of room for cables, I know of no wallboard that fluctuates that much due to conditions. If so, you have other issues at hand.
    I rarely leave more than a half inch of space unless the wall is over 8 feet high. Then I have to cut up a sheet to fill in the extra that two sheets don't cover. If I have, say, a 3/4 inch gap because of what was left over, I'm not cutting, taping and mudding a 1/2 inch piece of wall board just to fill the gap.
    You're just jealous 'cause the voices don't talk to you!

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    I am thinking of buying the following wall plate:

    http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=261-170

    Is this a good choice? I want something sturdy with quality binding posts.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Serendipity View Post
    I am thinking of buying the following wall plate:

    http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=261-170

    Is this a good choice? I want something sturdy with quality binding posts.

    Used the same exact one many times for my clients that I have wired up. They are not Cardas binding posts but for $69 they are pretty good.
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Serendipity View Post
    I am thinking of buying the following wall plate:

    http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=261-170

    Is this a good choice? I want something sturdy with quality binding posts.
    I use this: http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

    Its great quality for the price. I have 12AWG in the wall, and it can handle that gauge well. The posts tighten down well, and none of the threads have stripped, or even feel like they will. I use bananas out of the wall, and the system sounds good.

  13. #13

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    Only 15 bucks? Looks like the one from Parts Express would be better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Serendipity View Post
    Only 15 bucks? Looks like the one from Parts Express would be better.
    They are both made in China :) Just relating my experience. Its your money my friend.

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    The one you linked to has the binding posts all packed together :)

    When there are many heavy-gauge speaker wires, clearance becomes an issue...

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Serendipity View Post
    The one you linked to has the binding posts all packed together :)

    When there are many heavy-gauge speaker wires, clearance becomes an issue...
    First, you ask for an opinion. I gave you one. Not based on theory - but my first hand experience with an alternative to the category of product you are looking at. I mentioned I had hooked up 12 AWG wire to the plate. That's 7 pairs of 12AWG. Is it a little tight? Yes. I'm not sure its any tighter than the PE one. The PE one has the 4th gang reserved for through wall wiring. The monoprice one which I use does not offer a through wall option. That is the only advantage I see to the PE one. I just installed a separate cable through wall plate for my HDMI cables.

    In the end, if you feel better spending more, go ahead. I'm very happy with my $15 investment.

  17. #17

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    Do you have any experience with the PE one? I asked if that one was a good choice. I'm looking at both plates right now, the Monoprice one is equally spaced vertically whereas the PE one has different spacing (both horizontal and vertical) of the binding posts. From my experience, that middle row (usually labeled Surround Left/Surround Right) is the hardest to get to because of the spacing.

  18. #18

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    No experience with the PE one. I swore off PE for wall plates and posts after I bought a pair of binding posts from them for around $10, and they stripped after I tightened down on them too hard. I still order a bunch of stuff from PE, but for my consumer grade wall plates and in wall speaker wire, I use Monoprice - never had an issue.

  19. #19

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    Thanks. Whichever plate I end up using I will need a bulk cable plate because of the Wii sensor bar. It uses a proprietary connector so I'll probably just snake the sensor bar cable through the fourth gang if I use the PE one or just buy a separate bulk cable wall plate if I go with Monoprice. This will allow the Wii to be used with my front projection setup while keeping the console (and games) on the rack.

  20. #20

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    I have a Wii too. In the end, I chose not to run the wii sensor cord through the wall. I use a battery operated sensor bar, which works just fine on 2 rechargeable AA's. I believe it cost less than $10. The reason I did not sun it through the wall is that wii sensor wire is just too flimsy, and not fire rated, so technically, its not code compliant.

    I do use a bulk cable plate, but for HDMI cables.

  21. #21

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    I find the wall plates to be a pain, too many connections, and as you said above, very tight with all the cables. It's also a pain if you ever need to add more wires. I just use one of these behind the rack and another behind the TV now, easily fits everything:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...00_i01_details

    Easy to add another HDMI cable, speaker wire, etc. at a later date. Also eliminates the need for several holes in the wall, less to be patched later if I move the equipment rack. No electrical boxes equired either.

  22. #22

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    I use Monoprice speaker connection plates and have had good luck with them. I prefer to use naners in them, but my wife kept killing the surround nanners shoving the couch too tight against them, so I just use the screw connections now (12ga, no problems). I use keystone plates and connectors for all the misc connections (rca, ethernet, etc), and I usually get them from Monoprice, but I'll get them from wherever if I'm in a hurry.

    All of this reminds me, I need to pick up a 20' ethernet cable and some more keystone stuff to physically connect the ps3 to our modem. It's running wireless now for streaming, and I'm curious to see if it'll make a difference
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  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jstas View Post
    That gap isn't necessarily there for wiring. It allows expansion of the wall board so it can flex with humidity and temp changes as well as not buckle when the wall wants to expand. If you're going to run small amounts of speaker wire in there, that's usually fine but if you cram several wires in there and fill the gap, you defeat the purpose of the gap.
    I can't speak for plaster & lath, but that's not true for gypsum drywall. Only reason to leave gaps when installing drywall is so the edge doesn't snag on every bulge then crack when you try to cram it past- it's easier to cut a little short since it's going to be covered in mud and /or trim. However, if you're at the point of cramming things in there that tight, you probably want to notch the baseboard just to make your life easier.

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by WilliamM2 View Post
    I find the wall plates to be a pain, too many connections, and as you said above, very tight with all the cables. It's also a pain if you ever need to add more wires. I just use one of these behind the rack and another behind the TV now, easily fits everything:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...00_i01_details.
    Monoprice has something close for a bit less:
    http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

    but you do need a low-voltage old-work box for those.
    There's 2-gang versions, too.

    Another bonus for these over wallplates with connectors is that there's one less thing in the signal path and you can pull slack back into the wall, so it can wind up looking a lot less messy.

  25. #25

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    Monoprice has something close for a bit less:
    http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2
    I ran two of same except the larger version. Then, while my drywall was down, i installed two flexible hoses (one for power and the other for video connections) from one to the other so that i could easily swap out wires and keep the power away from the connections. Overkill...100%

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by unc2701 View Post
    I can't speak for plaster & lath, but that's not true for gypsum drywall. Only reason to leave gaps when installing drywall is so the edge doesn't snag on every bulge then crack when you try to cram it past- it's easier to cut a little short since it's going to be covered in mud and /or trim. However, if you're at the point of cramming things in there that tight, you probably want to notch the baseboard just to make your life easier.
    So the wood it's nailed to doesn't matter.

    OK, I see.
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  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jstas View Post
    So the wood it's nailed to doesn't matter.

    OK, I see.
    Yep, only the header and footer are oriented in the direction of the wood movement. You might get 1/64" of expansion out of those combined... assuming that the drywall is even nailed to the footer.

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Serendipity View Post
    Well, for starters, you need some basic tools:

    1. Drill with spade bits
    2. Fish tape (65' preferred)
    3. Measuring Tape
    4. Level
    5. Saw

    Then, obtain the cable you need (RG6 can be used for composite video, CAT5/6 can also be used for telecom, Stereo L/R audio, HDMI/DVI, component video, digital audio, etc.) and use the fish tape to snake it through the wall. I mentioned the drill with spade bits because sometimes, you will be forced to cross a 2x4 and the only choice is to make a hole in the wall and drill through it if there is no access from above or below (such as on a concrete slab).

    Below is a system I did for someone who didn't have the tools to do it themselves:


    Looks like my house.

    Speakers
    Carver Amazing Fronts
    CS400i Center
    RT800i's Rears
    Sub Paradigm Servo 15

    Electronics
    Conrad Johnson PV-5 pre-amp
    Parasound Halo A23
    Pioneer 84TXSi AVR
    Pioneer 79Avi DVD
    Sony CX400 CD changer
    Panasonic 42-PX60U Plasma
    WMC Win7 32bit HD DVR



  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by disneyjoe7 View Post
    Looks like my house.
    Haha, I remember you had wall plates everywhere!!

    Even the Polk Atriums were nicely installed!

  30. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by unc2701 View Post
    Yep, only the header and footer are oriented in the direction of the wood movement. You might get 1/64" of expansion out of those combined... assuming that the drywall is even nailed to the footer.
    OK, so studs don't expand at all.

    Got it.
    You're just jealous 'cause the voices don't talk to you!

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